Friday, 20 January 2012

Birthday cake request

My good friend T approached me a few weeks ago to ask if I could make a birthday cake for one of her friends from work. The brief was pretty straightforward - a yummy chocolate cake. Unfortunately for me, I haven't made many birthday cakes in my time so it was time to hit the cookbooks and search for a suitable recipe for said chocolate cake. I particularly liked one which I came across in the Tartine cookbook so decided to have a bash at that one. The base cake was a dense chocolate cake. Once the cake is ready, the dome is then sliced off, broken off into chunks and dried out in a low temperature oven for an hour or so. The dried chunks are then blitzed to produce cake crumbs which are used to decorate the outside of the cake. The crumbs are stuck together with a dense ganache which produces a refined-looking Brooklyn Blackout cake (I have seen another version using chocolate pudding and wet crumb which doesn't look as elegant). The resultant cake was pretty good - dense, fudgy and full of flavour :)

So after my baking experiment, I was all set to make the real thing. My friend then threw a curveball at me and asked if I could incorporate a message in the cake which of course, is perfectly normal for a birthday cake. Trouble was, the cake would be decorated all over with crumbs making writing more than a little tricky. After a night of pondering, I came up with a compromise - decorate the side of the cake with crumbs leaving the top with just ganache and then handpiping the message with white chocolate.

So I almost managed to pull it off.......except that my white chocolate had not been thinned out enough with cocoa butter so I wasn't entirely happy with the writing. I also probably should've left the piping of the ganache rosettes until after the writing but I guess I'll chalk this one to experience ;)

The good news is that the cake went down a treat so job well done, yay!!
 Trial chocolate cake

Trial yielded excess ganache and crumb - rather then throw it all away, they were turned into makeshift "biscuit crumb truffles", gobbled up happily by JD's workmates! :)

 Actual birthday cake - not entirely happy with the piped message so no picture of that :(

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